The 56-year-old Lopetegui’s desire to quit was known to the club for some time.
The two sides “accepted their differences of opinion on certain issues and agreed that an amicable termination of his contract was the best solution,” according to Wolves.
Three days before the start of the Premier League season, when Wolves take on Manchester United on Monday, the club announced the departure of the Spaniard.
The team announced that conversations had been “ongoing in recent weeks, held with the utmost respect and cordiality” to give the team time to work on finding a replacement and allow Lopetegui and his staff to get the team ready for the upcoming season.
A number of candidates were under consideration to succeed Lopetegui, but 40-year-old O’Neil won over the hierarchy and is anticipated to be named the new manager on Wednesday.
O’Neil led Bournemouth to a 15th-place finish in the Premier League last season, but he was fired in June and replaced by Andoni Iraola, who had previously led Rayo Vallecano to 11th place in La Liga.According to Spanish journalist Guillem Balague, Lopetegui was denied permission to sign any players this summer despite thinking the team would be bolstered.
Former Spanish manager Lopetegui led Wolves to 13th place after taking over in November when they were at the bottom of the Premier League standings, but early this summer there were rumors that he might resign because of the club’s financial predicament.
Chairman Jeff Shi stated in an open letter to supporters that Wolves’ Chinese owners, Fosun, had no intention of selling the team but emphasized that in order to comply with the Premier League’s financial fair play rules, Wolves must be prudent with their summer expenditure.
FFP regulations state that the club must turn a profit on player trades this summer in order to stay under the maximum permissible loss of £105 million over the course of three years.
The only major incoming signing was Republic of Ireland full-back Matt Doherty’s return as a free agent in July. They allowed Mexican striker Raul Jimenez to join Fulham for £5 million last month. They traded captain Ruben Neves to Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal for a club record £47 million in June.
Sporting director Matt Hobbs thanked “Julen and his staff for their dedication” and continued, “While it had been our ambition to enter the new season together, it is public knowledge that there were differences of opinion on some key topics, and it was agreed by all parties that it would be best to part ways before the new campaign.
“Julen and his staff leave the squad in great shape ahead of the season opener next week after a successful preseason full of arduous work and good performances, which will give his successor the best possible platform for success,” says the statement.
The club has also lost six members of Lopetegui’s backroom staff.
“I wish Wolves and everyone at the club the very best of luck for the future,” the Spanish manager said in a statement. “I thank them for the opportunity granted at the time to take charge of this wonderful club.”
“It has been an honor to enjoy this adventure,” he added in his thank-you remarks to the players, board, and staff.
Several days ago, Lopetegui told me that the club had informed him when he first arrived that if he could save Wolves from being relegated last season, he would be able to buy players—not the most expensive ones, but young and talented ones—for a lower price. The idea was intriguing.He was informed at the end of the season that this was not the case, but that he could still sign players as free transfers. He had to give his position some thought before deciding that was the new goal and challenge.
Then, as became known after the club released a statement, he was informed that not even this was feasible and that he could not sign anyone.
Because he thinks the Wolves management has twice changed the goalposts, Lopetegui is irate.
A European championship was achieved by Sevilla under the direction of this manager, who also managed Spain and Real Madrid.
He believed that joining the Premier League was the next logical step in his successful career, but he believes the team has taken a step back.
In our conversation, he said that he had nothing but the utmost respect for those that manage the club on a daily basis.
However, I get the sense that the Wolves decision-makers did not give him the whole story.
It is obvious that another management will now oversee the project.
As he was told when he decided to leave a personal situation behind to manage Wolves, Lopetegui believes the club hasn’t fully utilized what he brings and hasn’t given him the chance to use his talent, contacts, and worth to improve the team and make Wolves a regular top-10 club with hopes of qualifying for Europe.
Since there have likely been discussions regarding his future for some time, Wolves have had time to find a replacement.
Despite a strong preseason that also revealed an alarming lack of depth, Lopetegui was able to prepare the club.